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March 10, 2017

NCAA Indoor Champs: Day 1 Recap

Day one’s in the books. It was a good day full of surprises and unfortunate, retroactively enforced DQs (going forward, please don’t be a snitch). In both the men’s and women’s DMRs, the teams with the slowest 400m split actually wound up winning the whole thing! And Cheserek began his assault on the trifecta of 5k, 3k, mile (but not the quadruple as once speculated). For full results and tomorrow’s schedule and entry lists, click here. For some rapid-fire analysis from Jeanne and me, read on.

Oregon gets ducked over by DQ (still does well, anyway)

Going into day 2, Oregon only has 6 points, but they remain strong through their sprint squad and will be looking to collect on some of the top qualifying marks they had in the 100m and 200m (Hannah Cunliffe and Ariana Washington in both, and Deajah Stevens in the 60m). They’ll be hurt by Stevens being retroactively DQ’ed from the 200m, which stings even more, because it means her blazing collegiate and American records are now wiped off the board. How much time does stepping on an inside line really save, anyway? Oregon didn’t field anyone in the 400m.

(It’s also worth noting that the Oregon Ducks were probably banking on a W in the DMR which did not pan out, as well as Stevens getting them at least 8 points in the 200m. Could make them vulnerable from a team standpoint.)

Women’s 5,000m: The Schweizer Anti-Surprise

Notre Dame’s Anna Rohrer said no to pussyfooting and bravely took it out, basically from the gun, which eventually broke the race into a lead pack of her, Erin Finn from Michigan, and then Karisa Schweizer of Missouri right on both of their tails. The NCAA XC rematch separated from the rest of the field before even hitting 1600m and stayed in that formation until 4600m. That’s when Schweizer took the opportunity of lapping some of the other runners to swing wide and pass into first. The same head-tilting kick that won her the NCAA D1 Cross title this past Fall got her to the finish line in first with a 15:19.14. She closed her last 400 in 65, and Erin Finn went around Rohrer for second place with 15:27.36. Rohrer was third with 15:29.83.

Ches’s first W of the meet

It was an honest 5,000m pace-wise, and Tulsa’s Marc Scott (who wound up in second) looked very good. But at this point, Ches seems to be in a class to himself. He ran his two races today looking like a fella with a lot left in the tank, and waited until the very end of both to open up, do that weird thing with his hands, and start turning over. When that happens, it’s going to take a very special day from anybody else to hang on and give themselves a chance.

An EXCITING Women’s DMR

The DMR started out with Penn State, Indiana, LSU, Michigan, and BYU handing off on top. LSU took over in the 400 leg, splitting a 53.4 and mixing up the order a little. Michigan moved to second, Indiana was third, then Penn State, then BYU. Michigan took back over after the 800, but Oregon closed fast, running the second fastest 800 of the field in 2:05.04 to hand off for third, right behind Indiana. Wondering which team ran the fastest 800? Well, hold on to that question. Then came the last leg! The long one! And boy, was it a whopper. Indiana was in second, behind Michigan with Katie Rainsberger for Oregon taking the baton and looking calm when disaster struck! Indiana dropped the baton! Rainsberger made a move, which was immediately covered by Stanford’s Elise Cranny who expertly avoided the baton drop. Cranny was closing with a little less than 200 to go, with Rainsberger hanging on into the final stretch when out of nowhere, Dani Jones from Colorado came and STOLE THE SHOW and the crown. You guessed it, Colorado had the fastest 800m leg, splitting 2:05.02. And while Jones’s 4:31.71 split was enough to come from behind for the win, it was only second fastest in the field, with Notre Dame’s Jessica Harris clocking a 4:27.01 to move up from last to 8th place.

Three Cheers for the The Mustacheod Men of Ole Miss

After a physical 800m prelim from which he failed to advance, Craig Engels more than redeemed himself with the 1,200m leg for his Ole Miss DMR squad. Closing fast off a slow 61 second first 400m, he handed off in the lead with a 2:56 split. Some pandemonium ensued over the next two legs, as Ole Miss was promptly gobbled up by the field’s stronger 400m legs. Which let Sean Tobin drop the Irish Hammer over the course of his 800m leg. His 1:47 split brought the boys in blue back into contention, and set up his teammate, Robert Domanic, to capitalize on a fading Kyle Mau from Indiana. Domanic split 3:57, giving Ole Miss the win in an honest 9:31.32.

Those middling middle distances…

The women’s and men’s 800 meter and mile prelims went off with fairly few hitches. The usual suspects breezed into tomorrow’s women’s 800m final; Texas A&M’s collegiate record holder Jazmine Fray, Olivia Baker of Stanford, BYU’s Shea Collinsworth, and defending champion Raevyn Rogers of Oregon. You know the drill.

On the men’s side, 600m world lead holder Emmanuel Korir of UTEP showed a last-second gear shift that was really impressive. Penn State’s Isaiah Harris and Georgetown’s Joseph White also looked good, although the early rounds were pretty physical, and literally and metaphorically knocked out a few contenders, namely Florida’s Andres Arroyo, Ole Miss’s Craig Engels, and Virginia Tech’s Patrick Joseph who all failed to advance.

No real surprises in either the women’s or men’s mile prelims. The two women who have dipped below 4:30 both advanced easily (OK State’s Kaela Edwards & UNH’s Elinor Purrier). And on the men’s side Cheserek opened up his NCAA meet with an easy 3:59.30, which is totally understandable, given that he’s run over seven seconds faster this season. He has another gear that not many he’ll face in the final can summon, so it’ll be a surprise if anybody beats him tomorrow in this event.
And Texas A&M’s Fred Kerley ran the fastest 400m of the day, going 45.10. He already has run the fastest indoor 400m in the world this year. Today’s showing is good enough for the second fastest.

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